Teaching Skills

1. CIRTL Associates Certificate
This certification—which requires participating in the seminar series offered by the institute over one spring and one fall semester—needs to be attained by the end of the second year in the doctoral program. You can find more information on the associate-level certification here.

Requirements for Associate Certification

  • Participate in a Learning Community (4 Hours Total)
    • Learning communities bring people together for shared learning, discovery and generation of knowledge. To achieve common learning goals, a learning community nurtures functional relationships among its members.
  • Effective Teaching Seminar Series (6 Hours Total)
    • The seminar series covers various topics on teaching and learning, from how to engage and motivate students to developing a teaching philosophy statement for academic job applications.
  • Attend Conference for Graduate Teaching Assistants
    • Free for UB graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, this half-day event helps prepare students for success in their instructional roles at UB and beyond. Through interactive presentations and discussions, you will gain knowledge on effective teaching practices, learn tips and best practices from other TAs, network with peers, and be connected to instruction-related services and resources.
    • This requirement can be replaced by an additional 5 hours of Teaching Seminar Workshops.
  • Develop a Two-Page Teaching Philosophy Statement
    • A teaching philosophy statement conveys your perspective on teaching and learning, and how it does—or would—play out in the classroom.

2. Before a PhD Student Teaches a Course
The student should work with a professor in his or her department as a teaching assistant in a practicum before teaching that course. The practicum will expose the student to all aspects of teaching, including preparation of class materials, selection of appropriate in-class activities and exercises, preparation and grading of exams, leading class discussions and actually teaching some classes while being observed by his or her professor. Each student enrolls for one credit (pass/fail) in the teaching practicum course before teaching.

3. The Mentoring Process for Teaching

Phase 1: Assign Mentor and Identify Course
The department chair in concert with the PhD Committee will assign a mentor to a PhD student. This should be done at least one semester prior to the student’s first teaching assignment. The mentor, the department chair and the PhD student will also work together to identify a course for the PhD student to teach.

Phase 2: Teaching Engagement
The PhD student will begin to prepare for the teaching assignment. This should include the following:

  • Attends most, if not all, class sessions of one section taught by the mentor.
  • The mentor may provide access to all course materials including the textbook (examination copy), lecture notes, PowerPoint slides, class handouts, assignments and examinations.
  • The PhD student is encouraged to develop a syllabus, lecture notes, assignments and examinations as the semester progresses.
  • The PhD student, in consultation with the mentor, will teach the mentor's course for one or two weeks during the semester. The PhD student and mentor will hold several meetings prior to the two-week assignment to discuss the student’s proposed teaching strategy. The faculty mentor will meet with the PhD student after each class to discuss class presentation and content. The PhD student will prepare examination questions for a midterm or final exam related to the material covered during the weeks.

Phase 3: Evaluation
Immediately after the PhD student has completed the teaching assignment, the mentor will administer an anonymous survey to the students in the course. This survey will be similar to the UBCATS instrument and will also attempt to elicit specific feedback concerning the PhD student's performance and areas where teaching might be improved. The mentor will send a memo to the department chair and the PhD Committee summarizing the PhD student's performance (e.g. comparison with School of Management means and overall student reaction).

4. SPEAK Test Proficiency Requirement
The School of Management requires all incoming international PhD students to have their language skills evaluated prior to the beginning of their first semester in the program.

  1. A student with a SPEAK score at or below 45 will be strongly recommended to participate in the American English Pronunciation* course during the fall semester of year one. Subject to availability, the student is recommended to take ESL 411 during the fall or ESL 412 during the spring semester. Finally, the student should take ESL 512 during their second year in the program. In addition to these courses, students are strongly recommended to participate in ELI’s chat room.

    The student will be required to retake the SPEAK test in December of Year 1. If they have not obtained the required score of 55 they must retake it until the requirement is fulfilled or they have met the teaching certification interview requirement. The student is not certified to teach until they have reached a 55 on SPEAK or performed a teaching certification interview and passed.
  2. A student with a SPEAK score of 50 will be strongly recommended to take ESL 512. A teaching demonstration will be required for all PhD students in this category before they will be approved to teach.
  3. A student with a SPEAK score of 55 and above will be certified to teach without reservation.

* With permission of a PhD advisor, a student with a 45 on the SPEAK may request the teaching certification interview.

* If the course requires extraordinary tuition (e.g., the $185 fee for the American English Pronunciation course), the school will underwrite the fee for the first session of a required remedial course.

* Failure to take recommended courses during their first semester in the program or failure to perform satisfactorily in the recommended course will result in an unsatisfactory performance evaluation.

5. Teaching Requirement
All PhD students are required to teach at least one course that is a part of the School of Management curriculum before degree conferral.

a) Students will sit in on a section of the first course that they are to teach prior to their teaching introduction.

b) Courses taught by PhD students will be recorded on their permanent record maintained by the School of Management.

c) Copies of course evaluations will be directed to area coordinators for each course taught by a PhD student.

d) A written evaluation of teaching performance will be provided to the area coordinator by either the course coordinator or the department chair for each course taught by a PhD student. (It is recommended that course coordinators review course evaluations and visit a class session).

e) As a part of the annual review, the area coordinator will summarize information relating to the student’s experience as an instructor and evaluate the student’s overall teaching progress.

6. Course Evaluations
The PhD Committee will review course evaluations, written teaching evaluations by course coordinators or the department chairs, and area coordinators. Where the committee believes that a student’s performance as an instructor is substandard, the committee may seek additional input (discussions with the individual, discussions with the individual’s students, class visitations).

When the committee finds that an individual is not making satisfactory progress as an instructor, they may recommend:

  1. that the PhD Committee make an evaluation of unsatisfactory progress;
  2. that the PhD Committee deny opportunities to teach for compensation;
  3. that the PhD Committee suspend financial support;
  4. that the committee review for termination.